Association of Independent Museums

Partner of the Volunteer(s) of the Year Award


Independent museums are long-standing, successful social enterprises, run on a business-like basis and playing valuable roles in their communities, contributing to a sense of place and making up an important part of the tourism economy.

Independent museums and galleries are more numerous than all other types of museum, making up more than half all museums in the UK with at least 1,600 independent museums and galleries in the UK.

The independent sector includes a wide range of types of museums with two thirds dealing with specialist subjects, with transport, military, industrial heritage, galleries and famous persons being the most numerous.

A third are more general in their collections ranging from major ‘civic’ museums, to numerous medium size museums in county towns (often with Designated collections) and over 300 small museums concerned with local and community history.

The impact of independent museums

Around 83% of eligible AIM member museums have Accredited Museum status.

Over 9 million people visit the UK’s independent museums each year and 100,000 volunteers give their time to support them. (DC Research, The Economic Impact of Independent Museums, 2009)

51 independent museums hold Designated collections.

In England independents generate £1.17bn of income for the museum sector each year, more than any other type of museums (TBR. The Economic Impact of Museums in England, 2015).


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